Booking It – Monthly Check-In

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Are you Booking It this year? Yesterday we discussed the “assigned” reading of the month, Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider.

Today, we’re sharing all the other books we’ve read over the last month. I’m pleased to share with you some books for you and the kids as well as some deep reading for parents.

Kid Stuff

My “baby” boy is 7. He now reads, though he didn’t realize that he could read until quite recently. I think he was so used to having others read to him, that it wasn’t until words started popping out at him that he — and I — figured out that he had “arrived” in the land of readers. So it was great fun to expose him to the new Imagination Station series of books, based on Adventures in Odyssey, that I received for review earlier in the summer, courtesy of Tyndale House.

There are six books in the series so far:

They tell the story of cousins Beth and Patrick who travel through space and time on exciting adventures, via, you guessed it, the Imagination Station. Those of you familiar with Adventures in Odyssey and Whit’s End will know all about Mr Whitacre and his amazing machine that transports people to other worlds.

The books are easy to read as well as intriguing to kids and adults alike, making for a fun family read aloud. We’ve read the first five in the series so far and FishBoy7 is very eagerly awaiting the sixth book.

Digging Deeper

I also spent a good amount of time reading The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien. Like In Defense of Food, the book is an expose of sorts, sheds light on the food industry, revealing information about how government agencies and corporations present food, chemicals, additives, and food safety to the United States public.

She makes the case that many, many countries do not allow the same chemicals that we do here in the US. They operate from the position, “show us that it’s safe,” whereas the US government has adopted a policy of “show us that it’s dangerous.” Unfortunately, food manufacturers fund much of the research, creating a conflict of interest and perhaps inaccurate data.

Of the author’s own volition, this is a controversial topic causing rifts within her own family. No one wants to know that our government isn’t making the best choices for us. And there can be much disagreement, especially where Science is concerned.

Thinking More

While I am not going to say everything she says is spot-on, gospel truth, I will say this book made me think. It made me consider my food sources more carefully. Like the Michael Pollan book I reviewed last year, it’s made me think more carefully about the food I buy for my family.

For instance, I’m very careful to buy hormone-free milk and liquid dairy products. However, I’ve never thought about checking to see that my ice cream, butter, cheese, and yogurt were hormone-free. {smacks head.} I’m reading labels a little more carefully and not just grabbing what’s on the shelf in front of me.

While there was some very disturbing information about the current state of the US food supply, there was also a lot of encouragement to glean from the book. And while The Unhealthy Truth is only a few years old, I think things in the US have probably improved since then, at least in terms of better food being more readily available. And I feel hopeful for more change, both personally and as a nation.

However, I strongly disagree with some of the author’s solutions, ie bigger government control. She spends quite a long time explaining how government entities got us into this mess in terms of excessive, and potentially unsafe, additives and chemicals. It makes little sense to me to give these same agencies bigger control. I’m a firm believer in the power of the people — in their pocketbooks as well as with their polling booth choices.

Not all Gloom and Doom

Don’t worry; I’m not suggesting you read a book that will stress you out. But, I think it’s good for us to consider a variety of perspectives. The Unhealthy Truth helped me think a little more carefully about the foods I feed my children. And Robyn O’Brien testifies that she was a junk food mama who can’t cook.

(Do not take her cooking advice. Seriously.)

However, she does give lots of helpful suggestions for transitioning your family away from processed foods. Chapter 8 is a wealth of knowledge! We were already on this path of reducing the amount of processed foods. I was worried that this book would push me over the edge. But, no. Her help is very practical, in line with the baby steps idea. Make small changes that matter.

One thing I loved was her 80% target. She tries to make 80% of their meals as good as they get. But, she’s not opposed to allowing hot lunches, some fast food, or what have you. I love this! Ever the good grade junkie, I can settle for a B!

Read this book — with a grain of salt — and then think through what best fits you and your family.

So read any good books lately?

Tell us about the books you’ve read this past month. Share your links or lists in the comments section.

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  1. I have just started reading _The Unhealthy Truth_. I actually learned about the book through one of your “Booking It 2011” link-ups; so many thanks to the blogger who suggested this book! Thank you for your thoughts on the text. I’m looking forward to really getting into it this week – and then taking on _In Defense of Food_. As a pretty busy mom and a writing teacher who doesn’t do much reading beyond _Where the Wild Things Are_ , student papers, and Composition theory, I really appreciate your “Booking It” posts and all of the great suggestions and reviews that are made accessible through the link-ups. Many thanks!

    1. It is really hard to find time to read. I find that I have to do it in 5 to 10 minute pockets sometime.

  2. Just finished reading “Financial Parenting” by Larry Burkett and Rick Osborne. I borrowed it from the library but now I have to own it! My husband and I are going to do Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr. when our children are old enough but had some questions about how to do it. This book compliments Ramsey’s plan and gives activities to do as a family to help children understand biblical, financial principals. Two thumbs up!

    1. Love it that you wrote the review in June and waited to publish it. I should do that, too! I always forget the things I wanted to say if I wait more than a couple days.

  3. I read a very good book that I’m sure you would like: Jim the Boy by Tony Earley. And I read a couple more Little House books with my daughter. Fun time!

  4. Well {insert guilty look here}, for the first time since I started Booking It in January 2010, I didn’t read A SINGLE BOOK in the last month. All I’ve had time for is my quiet times (I read the book of John, so I guess that counts!), and finishing a book I started (and reviewed for Booking It) LAST year – Kim, by Kipling. I read all but the last 1/4 of the book – and I wrote a review, but I just couldn’t get in to the last little bit. However, I was determined to finish, and finish I did…finally. But I couldn’t write another review of it, so I have nothing to share. Life as been so crazy busy, but I’m hoping to make time to read a couple of books that are on my nightstand at the moment – “The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag” (Flavia deLuce mystery #2), and “Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English” by Patricia T. O’Conner.

    And for the record, I appreciate your honesty in your reviews and I totally agree that it’s time for people to take personal responsibility for their lives instead of looking to big government to bail us out.


    1. I don’t know what we’re gonna do with you….

      Just kidding. Obviously life is full and rich! We’ll let you slide this month. 😉

  5. I’m currently reading ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ by Weston Price. This is(in my eyes) the best book I have read on nutrition. Thats put me on a rewind mode when it comes to food. lol And yes, I have been enjoying your recent posts about your shopping trips and food. 🙂

  6. I just heard about a book called Wheat Belly that might be interesting.

    You mentioned about buying hormone free…Land O’ Lakes used to sell some whipping cream that was made out of “cream”. Now they’ve changed their label to “all natural” ingredients and I do not know what half of the ingredients are!

    I would NEVER have thought to read the ingredients once they changed their packaging, but I was showing my daughter why I spend more money buying pasteurized cream instead of ultra pasteurized cream. Crazy!!!

    1. I would never have thought to read the label if it was something I had previously purchased. Oy! How difficult do they have to make it?

  7. Wow, interesting! I hadn’t heard of The Unhealthy Truth, but I’ll have to check that out. I’m a huge fan of nutrition books.

    I just finished one in that genre that’s probably the best one I’ve read yet. It’s called The Perfect Health Diet, and it was written by a couple of married scientists, both PhD’s, who went on a big research mission to figure out how to overcome some chronic health problems they had. The book is a summary of their years of investigation into how to have optimum health.

    It reads more like a research paper than a glitzy book, which I actually found refreshing. Some diet books have a poor substance-to-style ratio, but this one really packs a punch, with a citation of some respected source after just about every sentence. A great read.

    Thanks for your reading suggestions!

  8. Neat about the food book; I’ll consider getting it for my husband who’s really into researching all about the food industry. As for me, I just finished reading a book called “Freedom from Performing” that I’ve found so insightful. Planning on posting my review of it sometime this week!

  9. I’m reading ‘Veganist’ by Kathy Freston. Another eye opener on the food industry and in very (almost too gentle of ways in my opinion), she tells of the cruelty of animals in factory farming.

    I just finished up ‘Red Signal’ by Grace Livingston Hill. It is RIVETING! Loved it! It was written in 1919 if I’m not mistaken and has a story of sweet romance, not even a kiss and the spy happenings during WWI. I gobbled this one up! : )

  10. I agree that people should ‘vote’ with their pocketbook for healthier, less processed choices, but the fact is that many in today’s economy don’t have a lot of money to work with when it comes to food choices.

    They also have limited information and time: it takes time to become educated about healthy food choices, and it takes effort to ‘stay on [your] toes’ to not waste fresh items, as you mention in your meal planning post this week.

    I worry about the families that lack that important combination of money, time, and education, or who aren’t even aware that they should be concerned about the food they eat, especially with the deceptive packaging some of the other posters have mentioned.

    For those reasons, I think that regulation on a government level is necessary to some degree, perhaps BETTER regulation rather than more.

    Interestingly, my recent book selections have focused on stories mainly in other countries/periods, which end up making me feel extremely grateful for the systems that we do have in place here in the US. (I read _Cutting for Stone_ about an Indian family of doctors in Ethiopia, and _Dreams of Joy_ about a Chinese American who got caught up in China during the Great Leap Forward, possibly the largest known famine in history. I recommend both highly!)

  11. What was her cooking advice like? I personally shy away from those types of books as I find they incite fear, especially when many times most of us do the best we can already!
    I read a great book called Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin. It is a WW2 story that is a great way to learn about some of the struggles women faced at this time. I reviewed it here!

    1. Well, I have to say, even she said she’s not a cook. She just had some quick fixes that weren’t all that appetizing. BUT, they were healthier than what she’d fed her family previously, so I give her credit there.

  12. I would like to add a correction to my comment above on “Veganist”. As I am reading further into the book, the author does indeed write of horrors animals go through. Every Christian should read this book in my personal opinion. It’s heartbreaking. Jesus would not smile upon what is happening.